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Located in Hillsborough County, on Florida's Sun Coast, Tampa's real estate was first explored by the Spanish back in the 1520´s. The Spanish explorers discovered a ring of Tocobaga and Calusa Indian villages. During the 16th century, Spanish explorers Juan Ponce de Leon and Hernando de Soto explored the area for gold and attempted to start colonies. They never discovered gold and neither one was successful in establishing a colony. For two hundred years thereafter, development of Tampa real estate was not seen.
After a series of wars, sometime in the mid-1700´s, Tampa began having seasonal residents from Cuba who would stay in temporary settlements along the shore of Tampa Bay near what is known today as Hyde Park. In 1823, a treaty was reached between the American Indians and the British settlers and a large Indian reservation in the interior of the peninsula of Florida was created. During this time, the U.S. Government built a series of forts and trading posts, one of which was Cantonment Brooke (Fort Brooke) at the mouth of Hillsborough River on Tampa Bay. It was until 1855 that Tampa was officially incorporated as a town, having slightly less than 1,000 residents.
During this time, Florida's citrus industry had taken root and along with Henry B. Plant's railroad line, a steamship line between the Port of Tampa and Havana, Cuba was established. Tampa real estate saw much growth during this time and the region prospered with the growth of the Cuban cigar industry in Ybor City. Ybor City, actually became known as the "cigar capital of the world." In the late 1880's, a number of Italian immigrants from Alessandria Della Rocca and Santo Stefano Quisquina (two small Sicilian towns) and some eastern European Jewish immigrants moved into the region, establishing businesses that mostly catered to the cigar workers and helped to develop Tampa's real estate.